An (almost) zero waste home - The Laundry

Cleaning does not delight me. But what does is getting a good job done in the shortest amount of time possible, without nasty chemicals and packaging waste. It might sound like I’m asking for a lot, but turns out there are simple ways to achieve it.  

Simplify your products

When it comes to cleaning, it’s pretty easy to get carried away with having a different product, brand and scent for every room and surface in your home. The downside is that you can end up with a chaotic clutter of products, a cocktail of different synthetic chemicals and a whole lot of packaging waste.

I skip the products I don’t need and always go for a multipurpose product whenever I can. I have one spray cleaner that I use on all surfaces in my home.

Check what products are made from

  • Ingredients: When buying products, I’m a big fan of going for the simplest list of ingredients and avoiding things like synthetic fragrances and Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS) – you can read more about that here.
  • Choose your tools:  When selecting things like brushes and cloths, I think about what they’re made of and where things are going to end up. I will always try and reuse what I already have, for example, I reuse old toothbrushes for scrubbing and cut up old clothes for cleaning rags. Knitted cotton dishcloths and wooden scrubbing brushes with natural bristles can be composted when they’re at the end of their useful life (bonus points for a scrubbing brush with a replacement head). 

Think about how to reduce packaging

There are plenty of simple changes you can make to cut down on packaging waste when it comes to your cleaning products.

  • Make your own: It’s amazing how far the humble baking soda and vinegar will go when it comes to keeping your home clean. If recipes are more your style there’s a world of inspiration out there to make everything from your own laundry powder to fizzy toilet bombs.
  • Bulk: Buying a larger size is a simple way to cut back on the amount of packaging you use.
  • Refilling your containers: Visit a bulk store with your own containers and fill up with dishwashing liquid, spray cleaner, laundry liquid and lots of other great options. Check out the ecostore website to find a refill station close to you.
  • Refill products: Sourcing a refill bottle and reusing a spray trigger you already have, is a great idea. You’ll find that spray triggers are interchangeable and will generally fit most bottles.
  • Concentrate: Buying products in concentrated form is a great way to save packaging and will normally save you money too! Just make sure you follow the dosage instructions, as it can me tempting to over do it.
  • Recyclability: When you do source packaged products, consider if the packaging is recyclable in your area.  

Keep getting ideas and inspiration

The zero-waste movement means there are more and more cool people coming up with cool products and solutions. For lots of ideas, inspiration and conversation, join the Zero waste in NZ! Facebook page and use the search function.

Small changes, big impact.


Nic Turner is the Founder and Behaviour Changer at Mainstream Green™. A converted minimalist and aspiring zero waster, Nic’s all about creating a ‘Greenfulness™ movement’ – where we’re mindful about what we buy, and empowered to make simple changes that have a big impact.